LGBTQ+ activists are fighting an uphill battle all over the world, in an effort to make the world of sports more inclusive and queer-friendly. However, they are facing a lot of opposition from conservatives and homophobes. In fact, GOP lawmakers in the United States have introduced more than 100+ bills in their respective states to prevent transgender athletes from taking part in different sports.
They argue that trans athletes playing in women’s divisions have an “unfair advantage” over their cis competitors. One of the most outspoken opponents of these laws is the Canadian academic and competitive cyclist, Veronica Ivy.
What Veronica Ivy Has to Say About These Bills
Veronic Ivy, who also happens to be a two-time world champion of the cycling track tournament, has used Twitter to air her opinions in what she calls a “coordinated attack” on trans athletes. The fact that US lawmakers are trying to enact legislation to prevent trans girls and women from participating in sports is “reprehensible”. It is very transphobic as well since all of the lawmakers refuse to look at trans women as real women. The southern state of Mississippi, notorious for its ultra-conservative outlook, has already enacted the unfair ‘Mississippi Fairness Act’.
This flurry of bills has increased over the past few months, especially after President Biden signed an executive order to prevent discrimination along the lines of sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, the order was designed to prevent children from being denied access to sports, restrooms, lockers, etc. Despite the executive order, Republican lawmakers from the Southern states have taken it upon themselves to ban transgender athletes from participating in their desired divisions. The International Olympic Committee has allowed trans athletes since 2003, so the claims of “unfairness” made by the lawmakers are nothing but plain transphobia.
Advocacy Groups Protest Against the “Unconstitutional” Bills
LGBTQ+ advocacy groups all over the US, like Human Right Campaign (HRC), have been working very hard to oppose these bills from being passed. In fact, the president of HRC, Alphonso David has gone on record to categorically state that the argument that trans women have an “unfair advantage” over cis women is a myth. David said that proponents of this myth are spreading “disinformation”, which is transphobic and is dangerous for the health and overall well-being of trans youth and athletes. HRC is working very hard to stop these bills totally.
David also said that if Republican lawmakers cared about women’s rights in the world of sports, they would be funding athletic programs, fighting for pay equality, and opposing sexual harassment. Instead, this is just another opportunity for GOP ultra-right conservatives to be transphobic and homophobic. David has gone to state that all these lawmakers are out to do is dehumanize and demean transgender people. It’s also worth noting that a majority of the bills that have been introduced have been backed by Christian fundamentalist groups. Apart from Mississippi, Kansas, Utah, Georgia, and Tennessee have also introduced similar bills.
Alliance Defending Freedom – Hate Group Masquerading as Civil Rights Group
The key group behind the adoption of anti-trans athlete bills is Alliance Defending Freedom or ADF. One of the first anti-trans bills is Idaho’s “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, which was backed by the ADF and GOP representative Barbara Erhardt. The ADF has been very active in battling LGBTQ+ rights and has gone on to oppose gay marriage, business refusals, and so on. The ADF says that it is defending “religious freedom”, but many well-known advocacy groups in the US have referred to the ADF as an “anti-LGBT hate group”.
Lawmakers in at least 5 states have made use of the ADF’s anti-trans bill template, and the ADF has also mailed the template to thousands of schools all over the United States. It is very clear that the bills are designed to be asked for by constituents and voters, but the real actors behind their passage are evangelical and conservative hate groups like the ADF. Trans youth and athletes struggling with dysphoria and hate have to fight a steady uphill battle because of the efforts of ADF and the like. Veronica Ivy has been very outspoken in this regard.
Introducing Legislation at the Grassroots Level
GOP lawmakers are trying to implement legislation that makes it “child abuse” for trans children to be given conversion-related care and therapy. This is nothing but open transphobia, designed to marginalize, oppress, and dehumanize trans individuals from finding their own gender identity. This is an unconstitutional act and needs to be stopped as soon as possible.
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